It seems like it took forever but thunderbolt enclosures are finally coming to market. One of the first ones we have had a chance to get our hands on is the Akitio Neutrino Thunder Duo. This dual drive unit allows you to install a 2.5″ form factor hard drive or SSD into its drive bays and connect them to a thunderbolt port. Crucial.com provided two M500 960GB SSDs for us to install into the Neutrino.
We have tested the Akitio Taurus Super Mini S in the Storage Switzerland lab in the past. In fact, the unit is still in production today playing a critical role in our remote video production efforts. The unit has proven to be reliable and dependable.
The Neutrio Thunder Duo is reminiscent of the Taurus, except that the Neutrio does not have the built in capability of mirroring drives; if you want that level of redundancy, it has to be done via the operating system. Our primary use of the Neutrio is for high speed production video creation, so we need raw capacity and performance more than mirrored redundancy.
The combination of the two 960GB Crucial SSDs and the Neutrio Thunder Duo, delivers almost 2TBs of capacity. That amount of capacity meets our video production storage demand and the price of the Crucial SSD more than meets our budget requirements. The combination is as fast as the internal SSD inside the MacBook Pro Retina’s that we travel with and has far greater capacity.
From an installation perspective, the Neutrio included all the installation hardware we needed. It was simple to mount the Crucial SSDs into the provided mounting brackets and insert the drive into one of two available drive bays. The unit is very quiet, almost unnoticeable in an office setting.
The only negative that we found is that the chassis itself can get quite warm; almost to the point of not being able to touch it if you need to move it. The unit may need a better airflow design but we would not want to sacrifice its quiet operation.
From a reliability factor, the Neutrio / Crucial SSD combo has withstood everything we can throw at it. We have filled the units up, repeatedly; run constant I/O at them and they now serve as the primary store for on-location video shoots – where we will fill up the 2TB drive in a three day period, unload and then start over again. All this time the combination has proven to be rock solid reliable and we have seen no loss in performance.
Storage Swiss Take
The next step for these two systems is to break up the partnership. We will be installing a different set of drives in the Neutrino and we will move the Crucial SSDs into our OWC PCIe to Thunderbolt expansion chassis. But for this first step we are very happy with the results, it gives us the performance we need as well as the capacity.
Akitio is a client of Storage Switzerland